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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Amaze-wing Giant Leopard Moth Facts

Here are giant leopard moth facts to know more about these insects from North America.

As spring arrives, it welcomes new lovely flying creatures that visit our yards and gardens. One of these distinctive night jewels is the giant leopard flying moth (Hypercompe scribonia). This insect’s beauty rivals that of any butterfly that we know. But it is a nocturnal insect. People rarely see it. Males are comparatively bigger than their female counterparts. Males have a wingspan of 3.6 in (9 cm), while females have a much shorter 2.25 in (5.7 cm) wingspan.

This North American moth was named giant leopard moth not because it is ferocious like a leopard but because it has beautiful blue and black spots on the white skin of its wing. The scientific name of the species is Hypercompe scribonia of order lepidoptera.

After reading these interesting giant leopard moth facts, do check out our other articles on gypsy moth and rosy maple moth.

Giant Leopard Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a giant leopard moth?

Giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia) is a beautiful insect that usually comes out at night because it is nocturnal. The males of the family often visit lighted areas, but females rarely do. When you find them outside your house, they may try to look like they have died if you touch them. And if they fail to distinguish you as a predator, they will spray a yellow liquid on you. The pattern on their wings is a way of camouflage against predators, mainly birds.

What class of animal does a giant leopard moth belong to?

Giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia) belongs to class insecta and order lepidoptera. Species belonging to this class have their body divided into three segments which are a head, thorax and abdomen. Their body is covered by an exoskeleton and has a segmented body with three pairs of jointed legs. The most important part is the antenna on the head.

How many giant leopard moths are there in the world?

There are more than 55 species of giant leopard moth (scientific name, Hypercompe scribonia). The total number of these moths are not known in the world.

Where does a giant leopard moth live?

Giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia) lives in fields, meadows and forest edges of North America and South America. It is a nocturnal animal and flies only at night. Adults can be seen in April and September. When it is threatened, it releases yellow liquid droplets that is foul tasting to ward off its predators.

What is a giant leopard moth's habitat?

Giant leopard moth habitat is found in North America and South America. It is also one of the three moth species that reside in England. The adults fly during the night and rest during the day on tree trunks.

Who do giant leopard moths live with?

You can spot a group of moths together on a tree, but they have no community. They live as solitary beings and only mate to lay eggs. These giant leopard moths have spotted skin that helps them to hide better from predators.

How long does a giant leopard moth live?

Larvae of giant leopard moth live up to one to three years before becoming a full-grown adult. When they enter the next stage of the giant leopard moth life cycle, they start finding mates for copulation.

How do they reproduce?

During reproduction, the male mounts upon the female and carries her around changing position. It has shiny black bristles covering the body. The female lays eggs after mating on a variety of plants such as violets, dandelion, cherries, maples and willow, whose leaves are eaten by the larvae. After laying eggs, the female immediately dies and males start looking for a new mate. Fertile eggs hatch soon and larvae feed on the leaves of the plants.

What is their conservation status?

Giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia) is secure under the protection of the government. The caterpillars have segments that are dark brown to black. Their body is stiff because of the black setae that cover its bodies.

Giant Leopard Moth Fun Facts

What do giant leopard moths look like?

Giant leopard moths are beautiful-looking insects that even surpass the beauty of butterflies. The adult moth has white wings with iridescent blue and black spots. Great leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia) has a distinctive coloring. Its body is iridescent blue with orange markings on top. Giant leopard moth caterpillars have thick black bristles that cause irritation when touched. Early instar also have hairy tufts, but their body is colored orange and dark shades of brown.

A giant leopard moth is attracted to bright lights and have black spots on its white wings.

How cute are they?

Giant leopard moth faces look somewhat cute when they sit on a wall. Many people find them cute enough to take them as a pet.

How do they communicate?

Since giant leopard moths have ears, they make certain noises to keep the bats away. They also make sounds to attract the opposite sex and for copulation.

How big is a giant leopard moth?

Giant leopard moth size is around 2 in (5 cm) on average. The males are slightly bigger than females.

How fast can giant leopard moths fly?

Giant leopard moth range of speed has been calculated as 33 mph (53 kmph). The speed is variable as per the size of the species.

How much does a giant leopard moth weigh?

An adult moth weighs up to 0.0551 lb (0.02 kg), and the average wingspan is 6 in (15 cm). The most incredible feature of this moth is the two purplish eyespots on their two wings. Females are comparatively smaller and lighter than males.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no male and female names of a moth. They are distinguished by the difference in their coloration and sizes. Males of this species are bigger when compared to females.

What would you call a baby giant leopard moth?

Baby giant leopard moths are called larvae. They hatch from eggs and feed on the leaves of the plants that they are surrounded by. They eat until they are fully covered in the shell. Larvae can survive from one to three years if they are not eaten by predators.

What do they eat?

The giant leopard moth caterpillar diet includes leaves of different trees such as violets, dandelions, cherries and maples. When they grow up, the giant leopard moth food includes the nectar of flowers and rotting fruits to maintain their water levels. Adult giant leopard moths will spend their life mating and then die. Giant leopard moth diet is not too extensive and they eat only a little.

Are they poisonous?

No, giant leopard moth are not poisonous. Although almost all species of moths are dangerous and have stinging outer bodies, giant leopard moths are not dangerous. Giant leopard moth caterpillar is fuzzy with orange stripes. At the same time, their bristles make them look dangerous but giant leopard moth caterpillar sting is nothing more than a myth as this animal can't sting anyone.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, if you want to keep them as pets, you can. There are things you need to take care of before keeping a giant leopard moth as a pet. Educate yourself first about giant leopard moth food and giant leopard moth care before making a decision. This will include reading blogs and articles regarding giant leopard moth caterpillar care and giant leopard moth poisonous status.

Did you know...

Moths symbolize a change in one's life and they are a good omen. In ancient culture, it was thought of as a symbol to respect the changes that are happening around us, and freedom or liberation is around the corner. Due to the long black hairs, shaped like a spike, the giant leopard moth is also known as a woollybear. Giant leopard moths are attracted to lights. You can often see a male leopard moth come into your house because of the lighting. Giant leopard moth cocoons have a net like structure with small amber beads at the intersection of the threads. The rings and spots on the body and wings are a welcome distraction from its body. During the winter time, these moths enter a state of hibernation. When the spring arrives, the larva shucks off the exoskeleton and turns into a pupa.

How to tell if the giant leopard moth is a male or female?

Male moths have yellow bands on the side of their abdomens, and female moths have orange bands. Great leopard moth male counterparts are bigger than the female moths, which are 2.25 in (5.7 cm) long. The caterpillars spin round in balls during the winter to hibernate.

How to care for giant leopard moth caterpillar?

If you want to take a giant leopard moth (obsolete scientific name being Ecpantheria scribonia) as a pet, you need to ensure certain things. Some of these are mentioned below-

If you have taken an egg then prepare a pot, or box with 2-3 in (5-7 cm) of earth, and cover it with leaves. Make sure to change these leaves regularly.  Cover it with plastic or wood and make holes in it. When your caterpillar grows, make sure you feed it the right plants and do not pluck your caterpillar to take it in your hands. Just put your hands in front of its walking surface and it will climb. In order to make your caterpillar think that it is in its natural habitat, keep it in front of a garden or yard.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including io moth, or regal moth.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Giant leopard moth coloring pages.

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